Never imagined for Dawson Metcalf (22 years), students of Oklahoma State University, that someday he will cross the ocean, go a long way to visit remote corners of the villages in developing countries, see the culture and world that often makes a frown , surprised, away from the things he never imagined.
Language barrier that makes it difficult even unwittingly led to awkward moments. Inevitably, it becomes cuteness, cuteness that made him laugh heartily. Another thing that also can not forget is the look of local residents who fixated on his west face. Dawson was only able to reply with a friendly smile despite the fact he was seized with a sense of culture shock.
However, it was actually grateful for Dawson. For him, visiting Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, making it more open-minded, more respectful of differences, cultural, and do not think half-time on developing countries that wrapped by Islamic values. “This experience made me more eager to learn the culture of other countries, understand the difference with more to open my mind, and more humble,” he said.
Two months ago, around late June until mid-August, Dawson joined the internship program FINIP (Freeman Indonesia Nonprofit Internship Program) organized by the IIEF (The Indonesian International Education Foundation). Dawson with 20 American students and Indonesia who went to America to work with NGOs in Indonesia to help resolve the various issues around education, AIDS, and health.
“We in the spread to many cities in Indonesia such as Bandung, Jogjakarta, and Surabaya,” said Dawson.
In this FINIP program, Dawson underwent internships at NGO Indonesian Family Planning Association (IPPA) in Bandung, where he was also involved in HIV awareness campaign.
“I experienced cultural differences between Indonesia and America is very large indeed. However, I was eager to join the non-profit institutions such as NGOs to do something for others, especially in education, “explains Dawson.
Educational background, political science, may not correlate with what he is doing in the internship program, but it’s not a problem.That just added to his knowledge horizon.
During two months of work gave him an understanding and awareness of the dangers of AIDS, so he had to go into prostitution circles. Dawson realizes that he’s not the least among those workers who are knowledgeable. Only, they lead to economic constraints can not access education, so many are willing to become sex workers with low paid and unprotected.
“I am satisfied with what I have done in the neighborhood of prostitution in Bandung, provide insight into the dangers of AIDS to many people. From there we can find and record any problems that exist in that environment. Maybe what I do not yet provide a big change, but at least it can be used as research material to find a solution soon, “said the brown-haired boy.
“I feel this program gives a lot of interesting insight for me is not just about my internship program in place, but also about the experience of socializing with the local community who mostly Muslims,” said the lover’s egg dignity.
Apparently, Dawson continued, what is the conventional notion of Americans against Muslims in Indonesia are not true, because he found a high level of tolerance among religions here. “Later in America, I will continue research on the understanding of Islam and Christianity,” he explained.
In contrast, Tess Merrimen participation, student of University of Montana, joined the internship in NGO named Kampung Pages in Jogjakarta. There, she gave more health awareness campaigns.Sure, just like Dawson, during the internship, she met a variety of cultural differences.
“Constraints in Indonesia is a culture at any time, in America we are accustomed in time, but while in Indonesia often not timely,” said Tess.
In addition to cultural barriers, language barriers also often experienced 18-year-old girl. According to him it was a cause things funny and embarrassing. “Yesterday I wanted to go somewhere in a cab, so get into my taxi driver greeting” Good Night “, and it was still morning, the driver laughed, really embarrassing,” said the tall girl’s giggle.
Nevertheless, she enjoys life in Indonesia. Moreover she is a convert to Islam and wear the hijab, she was glad she was able to pass through Ramadan in Indonesia, especially for shorter fasting time.
“In Indonesia I feel comfortable with a Muslim environment, because I am a Muslim and wear hijab, so I feel accepted here, Being a Muslim teen in America it is more difficult, but I’m happy with my choice, became Muslims. One time I wanted to go back to Indonesia, “said anthropology student who became a Muslim since the age of 17 this year.
Internship experience is also experienced FINIP Stephanie Senna (21 years), students from Indonesia who was studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Senna is a subsidiary of Indonesia’s first gold medalist in the International Biology Olympiad in Argentina in 2007 is undergoing internship at Paramitra Foundation, Malang.
Experience internship program, said Senna, really opened his eyes to the life that I never imagined before. “I participated in health education for women commercial sex workers in Malang regency.While doing counseling, I interact directly with them and understand about their daily lives, “said Senna.
Diana Kartika Jahja, Director of the IIEF said that student exchange programs across the country, either through scholarships, training and internships is growing in line with the current era of globalization.
In the United States, the number of foreign students studying in the country reached 690,923 people in 2009-2010, an increase of 19,307 people compared to the previous period. While the number of Indonesian students studying in the United States itself is still only about 1% of the total foreign students studying in the country, that is 6943 people for the year 2009-2010.
“The purpose of the implementation of those programs, among others, to provide an understanding of other cultures and improve their skills in adapting and communicating between cultures,” explains Diana.
more about Dawson: http://ieo.okstate.edu/newsitem.aspx?news=123